The garden in HDR

I was out in the garden playing around with my camera and took this HDR (high dynamic range) style photo. I think it gives an interesting perspective to the back woodland area of the garden.

Garden HDR 1

Click for larger image

Project: DIY upside down tomato grower

I have been toying around with various container ideas in order to get the most out of my heavily shaded property. We are surrounded by mature trees, so sunlight can be hard to come buy. One way around this is to use containers, large and small, that allow me to move things into the sunniest part of the yard on demand.

This DIY upside down tomato planter caught my eye for just this reason. It could be hung in a variety of areas and even perhaps put on wheels so it could be moved at will. Looking at the design it might be a bit heavy to move around too much, but I think I would have to make one first just to be sure.

Do you have creative ideas for getting the most out of the sun in your garden? Please share them in the comments.


Source: via Douglas on Pinterest


Follow Me on Pinterest

OMG Strawberries!!!

OMG Strawberries, originally uploaded by dewelch.

These strawberries were HUGE, but still had great strawberry flavor, which is unusual. I thought this shot turned out well, too, with the excellent depth of field and lighting.

Via Flickr:
Taken at an event for Friends of the Island Fox a charity dedicated to protecting this endangered species — the Channel Island Fox. Click this link for more information or to donate to the group. Friends of the Island Fox

Lavender Harvest 2012

I was aware enough this year to harvest my lavender at a more appropriate time than I did last year. According to my reading, you want to harvest it as soon as the flowers have fully opened. I had noticed a few days ago that it was flowering, so today, after returning from a client call and school pickup, I walked out with my pruners and cut the flower stalked from each plant.

Lavender Closeup

Click for larger images

By necessity, I took a lot of the leaves with each stalk, too. This variety seems to have leaves right up to the flower bud itself. When placing these in a vase, I left some leaves on the stems, but then I also pulled some leaves off to make for a better presentation. Those leaves didn’t go to waste, though. I collected them up in a few bowls to scatter around the house.

Lavender Closeup

My wife, Rosanne, loves the scent of lavender, so I hope this is a nice surprise when she arrives home from her work as a college professor. It is so nice to be able to bring a little of our garden inside so we can enjoy it wherever we happen (or need) to be.

Lavender leaves and flowers Lavender leaves and flowers Lavender Closeup Lavender Closeup

Updated: Coming this weekend! — Tomatomania 2012 dates announced!


Tomatomania, the annual tomato seedling extravaganza has just announced it’s dates for 2012. It looks like they have added a few new locations, too.

Each Tomatomania has hundreds of different varieties of tomatoes ready to take home to your own garden and kick start your Summer growing.

Here is a video I shot last year with Tomatomania founder, Scott Daigre.


Download “Tomatomania 2011: Scenes and Interview” – iPod Ready format


My local Tomatomania, at Tapia Bros. Farm in Encino, CA will be held on March 23-25, 2012.

Photos: Teresa’s Azaleas

Visiting one of my computer consulting clients today, I found these amazing azaleas in full bloom in her garden. Teresa says that they were even better before we had the heavy rains over the weekend. I can hardly imagine how much better they could look when they look so fabulous today. Teresa’s garden is located in Pasadena, California (Yes, the home of the Tournament of Roses parade) Take that all you rose lovers! (LAUGH)


Teresa's Azaleas - Pasadena, CA

Teresa's Azaleas - Pasadena, CA

Teresa's Azaleas - Pasadena, CA

Cute recycling idea – Bowling Ball Ladybugs for your garden

I thought this was soooooo cute when I saw it on PInterest. I suppose you use the same idea with anything round you might have about the place.


Source: via Douglas on Pinterest


Question: Garden Bed Refurb Ideas Wanted – What would you do?

As you can see from the pictures below, this garden bed is in pretty said shape. Over our 16 years here, it has been in fairly steady decline. I have tried to add a few shrubs to this area, but nothing seems to take. So, this is where you come in. What would you like to see in this area?

Garden bed refurb

This bed is on the south side of the property, but as you can see, it is almost entirely shaded by my neighbors fence. There is also quite a bit of shade provided by the mature trees, although we recently removed a large, diseased, pine from a position just off camera behind and to the right, so this should offer a bit more sun for part of the bed. The height of the sun in Summer yields a bit more sun on a daily basis, although I don’t think it is ever in truly “full sun”.

Starting with the foreground there is a lonely, leftover morea plant (fortnight lily), and a few sword ferns. At the far end (more visible in reverse angle picture below) is a large gardenia bush that does very well and blooms frequently, a yellow hibiscus that suffers from whitefly and is constantly reaching over the fence to get to the sun and a camellia bush that seems to thrive, but never blooms.

Irrigation is through the soaker hose you can see among the leaves in both pictures.

Garden Bed Refurb

From this angle you can better see the gardenia, hibiscus and camellia bush.

I am in Zone 10b here in the San Fernando Valley and this means it can get quite hot during the summer with probably 30 days over 100 degrees each year. I also prefer low maintenance, perennial plants that I can nurture over time, rather than annuals that need to be replanted each year.

So, what do you think?

I would love to hear your ideas! I think that all of us are smarter than one of us (namely, me!)

Add you ideas to the comments section and let’s discuss among ourselves.

Event: Los Angeles Cactus & Succulent Society 12th Annual Exhibit and Plant Sale Drought Tolerant Plant Festival

Los Angeles Cactus & Succulent Society 12th Annual Exhibit and Plant Sale Drought Tolerant Plant Festival

Saturday June 9th   9am to 5pm (Lectures start at 10:00)
Sunday June 10th 9am to 4pm   (Kid’s events start at 10:30)

A prickly seat for Rosanne and Joe...

Learn how landscaping with drought tolerant plants can save you money and water.

  • Interior Educational Displays
  • Exterior Demonstration Gardens
  • Raffle
  • Silent Auction
  • Plant and Pottery Sale
  • Craft sales

Saturday’s Guest Speakers Include:

  • Lili Singer, “California Natives in the Garden” sponsored by the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants
  • Mike Buckner, “The Art of Staging Succulents”
  • Matt Maggio, “Container Gardening with Succulents”
  • David L. Bassani, “Gardening with Bromeliads” sponsored by the San Fernando Valley Bromeliad Society

Sunday Kids Day

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Create Father’s Day Gifts • Pot -A -Plant
  • Games

Landscape exhibits that show the various types of plants that might be used in a typical drought tolerant garden and how they could be arranged – the exhibits will incorporate boulders, rocks, drift wood, and other materials.

Vendors will be selling the plants employed in the exhibits at the festival in addition to many other plants, books, pottery, top dressing, rocks

Sepulveda Garden Center
16633 Magnolia Boulevard
Encino, CA 91436

Questions?  818.749 5346 or email:

FOR MORE INFORMATION CHECK THE WEBSITE or you can call 818 749 5346

Photo: Orange blossom time here in Southern California

It is orange blossom time here in Southern California and the air is heavy with their scent whenever you walk outside. It looks promising for another bumper crop this year of backyard fruit. We have to get ours from our neighbors, but there are usually many to go around. We typically end up with grocery bag full allotments left randomly on our front porch. Can’t really complain about that, though. (SMILE)

Orange blossom time

I only wish we could make better use of our local harvest. So much goes to waste. There are several groups that try to capture this bounty for the less fortunate including Fallen Fruit and